Getting Real About the War on Drugs via Gaming

At GametheNews.net we turn news into games. In reflecting the world around us a singer might write a song, a filmmaker produces a documentary and a journalist writes an article, as games developers we express our interest via games. Just because our form of expression is through games doesn’t mean that we take the subject any less seriously. We’ve just released our latest newsgame called NarcoGuerra which looks at the War on Drugs. It’s an apt time to highlight the issue. Recently the Organization of American States launched a groundbreaking report exploring alternatives to the war on drugs.

If you are new to newsgames, they are a type of game that explores news and current affairs. The game looks at the ongoing conflict from the perspective of the Mexican authorities trying to stamp out the drug trade within that embattled country. In the game the player must attempt to retake Mexico’s regions from cartels while also dealing with corruption within the police force itself.

If you are new to the War on Drugs here’s a summary. In our research for the game we approached Transform Drug Policy Foundation and discovered that it’s not a war we can win because its not really a war at all. That was one of the things we wanted to explore with NarcoGuerra. What games can be good at is simulating systems such as the ebb and flow of the War on Drugs. What interested me as a games designer was the dynamic of the situation which meant that success created failure; if the police are effective in stopping the supply of drugs then the street price goes up because demand is a constant. But as the price goes up so more gangs enter the market because there is more money to be made.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W8LiYAR3hA?rel=0]

All we have done is place that dynamic into a game-simulation environment and allow the player to interact with it. We’ve challenged them to see if they can end this seemingly unending war.
Loads of games frame their interaction with a war/military type mode of play – we wanted to, well, play with that expectation. So we’ve created what will be a familiar framing for fellow gamers; a strategy game. To allow the gameplay a bit of leeway we also included a mode that does not have this dynamic linked up, where it is possible to win the War on Drugs. We felt it would be interesting to include a bit of the make-believe that some politicians and many others have been pushing for decades; that this is a war and that it can be won. After all, as the designer of a number of games set in fictional universes, I’m well versed in building black-and-white worlds of goodies, baddies and happily ever after. What is a newer experience for me, is to explore real world dynamics and I’d like to invite those same politicians who still think we’re in that make-believe world to join the rest of us in reality and start to explore solutions that acknowledge it never was a war and so can’t be won as such.

You can find out more about the game here. You can also find out more about the sources we used to create the game here.

Apple iWatch: features, specs and more

iwatch_concept

We take a look at all the latest rumours circulating about Apple’s upcoming iWatch

Wearable tech is big business and looks to be one of the biggest trends of the coming year. Google has its glasses and Apple and Samsung have their respective watch projects. But how would an iOS-powered watch work? What would it do? And how much is it likely to cost?

Concrete information is decidedly thin on the ground at present but we do know the company has put together a highly skilled team including engineering director James Foster and program manager Adam Pantfoerder to work on the project – and we’re hearing that the whole thing is being overseen by none other than Sir Jony Ive – so it’s fairly safe to say that this is no half-hearted venture on Apple’s part.

So what can we expect in the way of USPs from Apple’s effort?

Specification

To say that little is known about the device’s rumoured spec would be a gross understatement. Apple has this project sewn-up tighter than a sardine’s swimming costume. What we do know is limited to scraps of gossip emanating from supply chain sources, as is always the case with unconfirmed up-and-coming devices.

The iWatch is believed to feature a curved – perhaps even flexible – 1.5-inch screen, fronted by an as-yet undetermined Corning product. Could it be the oft talked about Corning’s flexible Willow Glass? Perhaps. Multiple sources, including CNET, are reporting that Corning’s bendy-flexy display could appear on devices as soon as this year.

The device is also suspected to make heavy use of Bluetooth for syncing and communicating with larger devices like the iPad and iPhone. NFC is also a possibility in this regard also, bringing both connectivity and payment technology into the fray.

Features

Current rumours suggest Apple is looking to give the device a full operating system, rather than a shrunk-down ‘lite’ offering. That means features like Siri, Apple Maps, iMessage and iCloud could make an appearance. Siri also seems like a no brainer at this stage.

We’d also expect hydrophobic and shock-proofing capabilities as standard aboard the iWatch. How many times have you jumped in the shower with your watch on?

Release Date

The rumour mill is divided over this one. Many so-called sources predict that the iWatch could be set for a Q1 2014 launch. Bloomberg disagrees, claiming the product will be with users around the end of 2013, just in time for Christmas.

Price

There’s next to no information currently available about the device’s projected price-point. Knowing Apple, the device will retail with a premium price tag – anywhere from £200 to £800. And because it’s a watch, there’s plenty of scope for variations on design and build materials over time, meaning we could eventually see multiple types of iWatch aimed at varying price-points.

When Apple eventually do ship an “iWatch,” can anyone guess what Samsung’s next product will be?

apple-iwatch-samsung-swatch

iPhone 6: The Teaser Trailer

Warning: Parameter 2 to wp_hide_post_Public::query_posts_join() expected to be a reference, value given in /customers/e/a/7/geekshavelanded.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/class-wp-hook.php on line 286

The iPhone 6 will be released later this year, we have a look at what it’s all about

Yep, the iPhone 6 is set to be released later this year and the internet is keen to get that drool hanging from your mouth. So have a watch of the extravagantly indulgent fan-made features trailer up above.

Right. What just happened? If you decided to read this instead of the video, firstly, thanks! But secondly, I don’t think there’s enough purple prose to really quantify what just happened to the theoretical iPhone 6.

Like some kind of Transformer, the 6 jettisons its ends, like a space-craft, and raises its screen to a sloping angle before projecting a holographic Macbook keyboard onto the table and a Macbook desktop onto the opposite wall. Seriously, I just watched this and still have no clue what that last sentence means. I think the iPhone 6 just transformed into a fully working, holographic pseudo-laptop…

It seems that whoever made this video got a bit bored as the theoretical-6 lethargically spins around for a while in a white void whilst Kraddy’s ‘Android Porn’ rumbles in the background before fading to a single date, the ambiguously unhelpful ‘2013’.

Google Now Lands on iOS

Screenshot 2013-04-29 at 16.43.03

After a few rumours and a couple of leaks, Google Now has finally arrived on iPhone and iPad, in the form of an update to the Google Search application. The app does many things in the same way as on Android, including Cards and syncing with your Google account. However, it is far less integrated with iOS than it is with Android, so the experience is slightly less satisfying.

Google haven’t given one of their best features to iOS, they’ve only given a bite of it.

» Read more

Mailbox for iPhone – Put Email In Its Place

mailbox for iphone

mailbox for iphone

Mailbox, the highly anticipated gesture-based email client for iPhone, has finally been released. Mailbox has an extremely minimal design which relies on swipe gestures to organise emails. If you haven’t seen it already, the company released a video showcasing the app a couple of months ago, which looks simply awesome.

At the moment, Mailbox is an iPhone exclusive. However once the roll-out is complete, the company aim to bring it to other devices in the future. Fingers crossed for Android.

Mailbox is available for free right now, however there is still a queue before you can use it, so it will probably be a while before you get access.

 

1 2 3 4 5 12